Accounting software has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. It streamlines financial processes, simplifies bookkeeping, and provides insights into a company’s financial health. However, with so many options available, choosing the right accounting software can be a daunting task.
1. Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Desktop Accounting Software
One of the first decisions to make is whether to opt for cloud-based or on-premise desktop accounting software.
Cloud-based accounting software stores data on remote servers, enabling users to access it from anywhere with an internet connection, using various devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. On the contrary, on-premise desktop software is installed on a local computer and can only be accessed via a PC or laptop.
The rising popularity of cloud-based software can be attributed to its accessibility and flexibility. It grants users the ability to collaborate in real-time and receive automatic updates. Nevertheless, it’s typically more suitable for smaller companies that don’t require advanced features. In contrast, desktop software may offer increased security and the potential for more advanced features and integrations.
2. Ease of Use
The most user-friendly accounting software should be easy to use and navigate. It should have an intuitive interface that allows users to quickly find what they need. A good user experience is essential, as it can save time and reduce the risk of errors.
When evaluating accounting software, look for features such as drag-and-drop functionality, customisable dashboards, and easy-to-use reporting tools. The software should also offer clear and concise instructions and provide excellent customer support.
3. Integration with Other Software
Another essential feature to consider is the software’s ability to integrate with other systems. Accounting software should be able to work seamlessly with other tools such as payroll software, inventory management systems, and CRM systems.
Integration can save time and reduce the risk of errors by automating data transfer between systems. It can also provide a more comprehensive view of a company’s financial health by combining data from different sources.
When selecting accounting software, security is a key factor. To safeguard private financial information, the software needs to have strong security measures. Search for software that provides encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular backups.
Cloud-based software should also have secure servers and data centres that comply with industry standards such as ISO 27001. It’s also important to ensure that the software provider has strong data protection policies in place.
It’s essential to consider the software’s scalability. As a business grows, its accounting needs will become more complex. The software should be able to accommodate this growth and provide the necessary features and functionality.
Look for software that can handle multiple users and locations, support multiple currencies and languages, and provide advanced reporting and analytics. Further, it should also be able to integrate with other systems as the business expands.
Price is a crucial factor to take into account when selecting accounting software. On-premise desktop software typically involves a one-time payment, while cloud-based software is typically available through monthly or yearly subscriptions. Some software providers also offer the benefit of a free trial period, allowing you to assess the software before making a commitment.
During your pricing evaluation, it’s important to carefully examine the features and capabilities included in each software package. Some providers may offer extra features at an additional cost, so it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what is encompassed in each package.
7. User Reviews
Reading user reviews before selecting accounting software is usually a smart idea. User reviews can offer insightful information about the functionality, usability, and customer service of the software.
Look for reviews from businesses that are similar in size and industry to your own. Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews and consider how they align with your own priorities and needs.
8. Access On The Go
In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s important to have access to financial data on the go. Look for accounting software that allows users to access financial information with their devices any time anywhere. This doesn’t necessarily imply that cloud-based software is the only choice. As technology continues to advance, even on-premise desktop software now provides the option to access data outside the office using PC/laptops.
Accessing on the go can be particularly useful for businesses with remote workers or those that require frequent travel. It allows users to stay connected and make informed financial decisions, even when they’re away from the office.
Businesses have unique financial needs, and accounting software should be able to accommodate these needs. Look for software that offers customisation options, allowing users to tailor the software to their specific requirements.
Customisation can include creating custom reports, adding or removing fields from forms, and setting up workflows that reflect the business’s financial processes. Through customising the software, businesses can streamline their financial processes and save time.
10. Training and Support
It’s important to consider the training and support offered by the software provider. Look for software that provides comprehensive training materials, including user manuals, video tutorials, and webinars.
The software provider should also offer excellent customer support, with knowledgeable support staff available to answer questions and resolve issues. Consider the provider’s response time and availability, as well as the quality of their support.
11. Industry-Specific Features
Some businesses may require accounting software with industry-specific features. For example, a construction company may need software that can handle job costing and project management, while a non-profit organisation may require software that can track donations and grants.
When evaluating software, consider whether it offers features specific to the business’s industry. Look for software that can accommodate the unique financial needs of the business and provide insights into its financial health.
12. Data Import and Export
Another important feature to consider is the software’s ability to import and export data. Businesses may need to transfer data from other systems or migrate data from legacy software.
Look for software that can import and export data in a variety of formats, including CSV, Excel. The software should also be able to handle large volumes of data and provide tools for data mapping and transformation.
13. Reporting and Analytics
Reporting and analytics are essential features of accounting software. The software should provide a range of reporting options, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
Look for software that offers customisable reporting options, allowing users to create reports that reflect the business’s unique financial needs. The software should also provide advanced analytics tools, such as trend analysis and forecasting, to help businesses make informed financial decisions.
14. User Permissions and Access Control
Accounting software may contain sensitive financial data, so it’s important to have robust user permissions and access control. The software should allow administrators to control who has access to financial data and what actions they can perform.
Look for software that offers role-based access control, allowing administrators to assign different levels of access to different users. It should also provide audit trails, allowing administrators to track who has accessed financial data and what actions they have taken.
Choosing the most user-friendly accounting software requires careful consideration of a range of factors. Look for software that is easy to use, integrates with other systems, offers robust security, can scale with the business, and is priced appropriately.
Industry-specific features, data import and export, reporting and analytics, as well as user rights and access control, are further considerations. Businesses can streamline their financial procedures and make wise financial decisions by comparing several possibilities and choosing the appropriate software.